Study of glacial hydrology with drifters

Water flow on, in and under glaciers still remains a poorly understood system. Water can flow over the surface of glaciers, as well as through channels inside and under the ice. The water thereby has a strong influence both on ice melt and glacier dynamics, making glacial hydrology an important field of study.

In this project, we will be using various sensing drifter platforms to gain new insights into glacial hydrology. GPS equipped drifters allow to study surface streams and submersible platforms allow to study subsurface flows. The current technology allows reconstructing subsurface flow paths, flow velocities and water pressures.

The focus of the ongoing work is at tidewater fronts, radio and satellite communication, as well as glacier lake outburst floods.

Thesis opportunities are flexible within the ongoing developments and might include:

  • Supervised and unsupervised machine learning classification of obtained data
  • Investigations of relationships between measurements and discharge
  • Morphological characterization of glacial channels
  • Flow simulations
  • Test of radio communication

All thesis opportunities are at the interface between science and technology and include a mix of field work, data analysis and modeling.

Fieldwork opportunities include Finse and Svalbard. A lab visit in Estonia is also an option.

Contact Andreas Alexander for more details of the project or relevant literature.


Image may contain: Water, Sky, Mountain, Recreation, Cloud.
Fieldwork during summer 2020. Click here for a bigger version of the picture.


Tags: Glaciology, hydrology, sensor technology, data analysis, machine learning, field work, flow modeling
Published Aug. 31, 2020 11:45 AM - Last modified Aug. 31, 2020 2:54 PM


Scope (credits)